Few pest infestations are more detested than cockroaches. People hate them enough to call pest control crews on them, and rightfully so. They can carry diseases, harm food supplies, and even cause problems with pets.
Pest control is a must if you see roaches, but how can you tell if you have an infestation? Well, it’s usually easy. These are what to watch for.
The Subtle Signs Of A Cockroach Infestation
1. If you see a roach, you have an infestation
A good rule of thumb is that if you see a roach in your kitchen, you have a full infestation. Roaches are surprisingly stealthy insects, so if you see them, it’s already a sign that the infestation is out of control.
Roaches tend to go near cold, damp areas like basements and behind washers and dryers. If you have open drains, food left out in the house, any large source of moisture, or lots of dampness in your laundry rooms, you could have roaches.
PRO TIP – Do not hesitate to ask your neighbors if they have spotted roaches in their place. In most cases, roaches spread from one apartment to another.
2. You see things that resemble coffee grounds in your sink, basement, and bathroom
This is okay if you just brewed coffee and spilled some (or something similar), but it’s not okay if you’re finding it at random spots. Those black pepper specks and “coffee grounds” are not actually food. They’re cockroach droppings.
If you only see droppings, you may want to call an exterminator to see if it’s a case of mistaken identity. With that said, the next sign is a pretty obvious sign that you definitely have a roach infestation on your hands.
3. You spotted egg capsules
Roach egg cases are also called oothecae, but whatever you call them, the effect is the same. Egg capusles are elongated sacs that have segments in them. They often look somewhat similar to brown rice or white rice, though their size can vary.
If you notice things that look like mini-roaches without feet, then you are seeing egg capsules. At this point, you already have an infestation and there are now guaranteed signs that baby cockroaches have been scuttling around.
4. You spot skin shedding
A typical cockroach will shed its skin (erm, shell?) 5-8 times in its lifetime. Being absolutely filthy as they are, roaches leave their shedding everywhere. If you see parts of their shells around baseboards or a stray leg, then you are probably going to have to call for help.
Their exoskeletons come off in pieces when they’re shed, so at times, you may only notice them as parts of shells or crumbs. If you have Oriental cockroaches, then you’ll find the shells in cooler conditions. American cockroaches will be more likely in the kitchen.
5. You notice smear marks on your horizontal surfaces or where the wall meets the floor
Smear marks are exactly what they sound like. These are marks that are brown, irregularly shaped streaks that roaches leave behind. This doesn’t always happen, but if your area is particularly damp, you’ll start to see them, too.
Finding strange brown marks on horizontal surfaces is never a good sign, especially when it comes to pests. The issue with this warning sign is that it could be something other than cockroaches. It could also be a bed bug issue, too.
The big difference is that roach smears tend to be on solid surfaces. Meanwhile, bed bugs will smear on fabrics in most situations. Even so, you may want to get an exterminator to see which pests you have in your home.
6. You noticed bite marks on boxes or on leftover food on dirty dishes
Roaches have to eat too, and unfortunately, they eat a lot of things. If you notice small bite marks on boxes, little scoops of food gone, and similar chew marks, it could be that you have roaches, or mice, or both.
We suggest determining if you have a mouse or roach problem by using traps. If you catch a roach, you already know what’s going on. You have roaches!
7. You smell them
Cockroaches emit a very distinct smell thanks to their pheromones. It’s best described as a musty smell that is almost akin to an oily or sweet mildew. If you could swear that you smell something similar (but not quite identical) to mold, it may be a roach.
If you’ve ever been to an apartment with them, you know the smell already.
8. Your allergies are acting up
Believe it or not, roaches can cause allergy flare-ups in some people. Roach feces and saliva can both cause allergy symptoms in people who are sensitive to it. If you’re noticing your asthma flaring up or a dry cough, you could be having an allergic reaction to roaches.
Obviously, this can also happen with the changing of the seasons. If nothing else has changed and you’ve noticed other signs on this list, it’s safe to assume that your allergy symptoms are associated with roaches.
Roaches are no laughing matter
If you have a roach infestation in your home, this is not something to take lightly. It can harm your property, your reputation, and even your health. Don’t hesitate to start working on eliminating roaches. The sooner you get them gone, the better off you will be.
You can usually start with the right pesticide, but it’s often better to ask a pro for help. Regardless of what method you use, good luck. You’ll need it.